Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fun Continues in Key West

Location: Key West, FL

Greetings from sunny and hot Key West. The last few days the temperature has been 91 degrees with a heat index of 104! We don’t have air conditioning on the boat, so Capt. Jim hoses me down with water to help keep me cool. It is so hot, Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy have been hosing themselves down too! Thankfully, it cools down after the sun sets and we have a really great fan on the boat to keep us cool while we sleep.

Yes, we are still in Key West. We decided to extend our stay here so Admiral Sandy and Capt. Jim could celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on August 1st. They couldn’t think of a better place to spend their 20th anniversary: with me (of course) on the boat in Key West!

Chilling Out While Surfing the ‘Net
We are excited to have found an air-conditioned room at the Waterfront Market (at the end of our dock) where Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy can access the internet for free… and dogs are allowed to “chill out” too. This is a great place to get away from the heat during the day when we are not snorkeling or sailing.

They also have a couch that I love to sleep on.

Here is a beautiful picture taken from the dock by Admiral Sandy early one morning as the sun was rising and the full moon was setting. You can see the Carnival cruise ship smoke stack in the background.

Camping Out at Jabour’s Trailer Park
One morning, I was taking my morning walk with Admiral Sandy and we discovered this guy “camping out” in the former Jabour’s Trailer Park. He was sleeping/passed out on some blue barrels inside the fenced area that once was Jabour’s. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo that Jabour’s is closed and people are not allowed to camp there any more… thanks to a developer that bought the property to build condos and then filed bankruptcy.

Halie & Matthew

One day while we were sailing, we caught this photo of the Halie and Matthew under sail. What a beautiful boat!

Another Beautiful Sunset

Here are photos of another beautiful Key West sunset.

As the sun was setting, Capt. Jim put me on top of the boat’s bimini. It was so comfortable, like laying in a hammock… I just had to take a little nap.

Special Roses
Every Friday, our friends Balk and Diane take flowers to the bartenders and servers at Schooner Wharf Bar to show them their appreciation for all their hard work. One Friday, Balk and Diane gave Admiral Sandy some roses too! The roses were beautiful and made Admiral Sandy feel special. How wonderful that Balk and Diane spread happiness to others with flowers!

Snorkeling at Eastern Dry Rocks and Rock Key
We heard from some of the charter boat crew that there is good snorkeling at Eastern Dry Rocks and Rock Key now because the “blue water was coming in”. When the gulfstream gets closer to Key West, the clear, cool water from the Atlantic moves in and creates great conditions and great visibility for snorkeling.

While snorkeling at Eastern Dry Rocks and Rock Key, Admiral Sandy and Diane saw two turtles and swam with them! They also saw some reef squid, beautiful healthy coral formations, purple sea fans, and many beautiful reef fish. Diane also found an Arrow Crab that looks like a granddaddy long leg spider with pinchers. At one of the mooring balls at Eastern Dry Rocks, they found an abundance of staghorn coral that they had not seen at any other snorkeling sites.

Preparing to leave. I am overseeing all the work to leave the dock:

Balk on the boat:

On the way to Eastern Dry Rocks:

At Eastern Dry Rocks:

A rain storm in the distance:

Admiral Sandy and me swimming at Eastern Dry Rocks. Isn’t the water beautiful? It's like being in a nice pool with the water temperature 90 degrees.

Sand Key Light:

Shrimp Shack
We visited a restaurant call the Shrimp Shack which reminded us of the Mayport fishing village where we live. While we were there, we listened to Barry Cuda and the Bong Hits for Geezers. This is a fun group that plays ragtime and other fun music. Barry Cuda plays the piano/keyboard, Kenny Fradley plays a trumpet and Richard Crooks plays the drums. The band was set up on a fishing boat and I got my picture taken with them!

Key West Free Beaches
There is an organization called Key West Free Beaches that is working to get a beach in Key West designated as a nude beach. The Key West City Commission is considering putting the issue on the ballot for the citizens to decide if they want a nude beach. We met the Chairwoman of Key West Free Beaches at the Shrimp Shack and had our picture made with her… fully clothed of course!

Mel Fisher Days Bikini Contest
Key West has a Mel Fisher Days celebration every year. Mel Fisher found the treasure of the wreck of the Atochia and the Santa Margarita. Although Mel Fisher is dead, his family continues his quest to find sunken treasures. One of the highlights of the Mel Fisher Days celebration was the bikini contest that was held at the Schooner Wharf Bar.

This wasn’t your typical bikini contest because the winner was the one who raised the most money for a charity. The winner received an Atocha coin from the Atocha valued at $1800, second place received an emerald from the Santa Margarita valued at $1000 and third place received a pearl from the Santa Margarita valued at $500.

This year, our friend and Schooner Wharf bartender Marissa won the bikini contest by raising over $1,100! This is Marissa’s third year to win! Here is a picture of Marissa, with her husband Mike and some of the Mel Fisher family.

Our friend William wanted his picture taken with this girl that was in the bikini contest. I wonder why?

After the Storm…
Recently, we had a storm hit in the early evening with 50 mph winds. It developed rather quickly, but we were able to get the boat closed up and secured before the storm hit. Unfortunately, we forgot that our companionway screens were on the deck, so they got blown into the water and sunk to the bottom. Capt. Jim is such a good swimmer, he was able to snorkel down below the boat and find both the screens! We wouldn’t want to lose the screens because they keep the bugs out!

Some of our boat neighbors had more serious problems due to the storm. The strong winds partially unfurled and tore the jib on Capt. Bob’s sail boat Double Decker that is next to our boat. Admiral Sandy called Capt. Bob and Capt. Jim helped him take the jib down so it could be repaired.

Capt. Jim also came to the assistance of Larry and Kristie on Banana Wind. Larry and Kristie’s son was on their sail boat that was anchored off Fleming Island and he called his parents to them to tell them that they had lost their anchor and the boat was drifting. So, Capt. Jim took them in the dinghy to their boat where they found their boat had drifted toward a bridge. Thankfully, they had also called Tow Boat US and they were already there to help them keep the boat from hitting the bridge.

Our other neighbors, the Blu Q charter catamaran, had problems when the strong winds caused their flag halyard to get fouled in the rigging. So, Admiral Sandy was able to help Capt. Steve as he hoisted Mo up the mast to fix the problem.

It’s great how the boating community helps each other whenever help is needed!

We wish you all a great week and we look forward to more fun adventures in the coming week! Please look for our next posting soon!

Coconut and Crew

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Fun in Key West!

Location: Key West, FL

Hello from sunny and hot Key West. We hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend doing lots of fun things. Our fun in Key West continues and I would like to share with you our latest photos and adventures.

More Schooner Wharf Bar Friends
Here is a picture of my friend Angus who is the brother of Randy the pug/pit mix whose photo was in a previous blog. He and Randy come to Schooner Wharf a lot with their parents. Angus’s mom is amazed at how much Angus and I look alike… except, at 100 pounds, he is three times bigger than me! I guess you could say that Angus is a “Mega me” of me?

This is a picture of another Angus. This Angus works at Schooner Wharf and the little kitten he is holding was given to him for his birthday by our friends Balk and Diane. I think this is the only cat I have ever seen in the Schooner Wharf Bar.

Oyster Race Winner
The first time we went to Pepe’s Oyster Race with Rick and Toni, we met their friends Kristie and Larry (aka Wasabi) who live on their sail boat in Key West. They live on a 41 foot Morgan Out Island called Banana Wind. By day, Larry works at West Marine. But, in the evening, they dress in their pirate regalia and entertain the tourists at Mallory Square.

At the June 29th Oyster Race, the prize pot was up to $125 and Kristie actually picked the winning key to the prize money box! Boy, was she happy… and we were happy for her!

Getting On and Off the Boat
The marina here doesn’t have finger docks alongside the boats, so we have to board our boat by climbing over the bow rail. Thankfully, Capt. Jim is strong and can carry me over the bow rail with him and we haven't fallen in the water! There are lots of big tarpon in the water that are much bigger than me, so I don’t think I want to go swimming with them.

Here is how we get on the boat:

Here is how we get off the boat:

Fourth of July
I love going to the Schooner Wharf Bar because the bartenders also give me treats! So, what better way to celebrate the Fourth than by going to my favorite place and getting yummy treats from Missy. Thanks to Diane for the photos!

Of course, all that begging for treats is really hard work. So, I had to take a rest at the bar.

I also got to visit the beach and do some swimming.

Later, we saw a message plane flying overhead with this message. Capt. Jim said he hoped that Michelle saw the message and wasn’t in the bathroom when the plane flew over. I wonder what Michelle’s response was.

Key West has a fireworks show from the White Street pier, so we watched the fireworks from the Southernmost House. There were lots of boats on the ocean watching the fireworks show too. It was a good fireworks show, but I think the Jax Beach fireworks show is better.

More Great Snorkeling
We have really enjoyed the snorkeling in Key West. Since we have been here, we have visited the Western Sambo reef and Cottrell Key. Western Sambo reef has really nice big coral reef formations in shallow and deep water, so it is a good site for snorkeling or diving.

But, we like Cottrell Key the best because it has the most diversity. At Cottrell Key, there are 13 mooring balls and each mooring ball has something different to enjoy: beautiful fish, soft and hard corals, a wreck, and an area called “Stingray Alley” where you can see lots of stingrays resting on the sand or gently gliding through the water. At Cottrell Key, we have also seen sea anemones, lobster, large nurse sharks, barracuda, huge tarpon, and an amazing school of amberjack. We don’t have an underwater camera, but we need to get one so we can share some of the beauty of our snorkeling with you.

Here are some more photos from our snorkeling trips:

(Thanks to Diane for some of these photos)

We let the charter catamaran Blue Q tie up to our boat so they could snorkel the same area we were snorkeling.

Snorkelers at Cottrell Key:

(left to right) Joey, Balk and Diane:

Kat and Capt. Jim:
Kat and Tim:

The other boats at Stingray Alley, Cottrell Key:
Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy:
Capt. Jim:
When I am ready for a nap, I am really good at squeezing myself in to any space I want to be. One of my favorite spots is next to Joey’s leg.

I actually crawled under Balk’s legs just so I could lie next to Joey.

Swimming with the Yellow Tail Snapper
On our snorkeling trip, I had lots of fun swimming with the yellow tail snapper. In the past, I have always wanted to swim with the fish when I have seen schools of them jumping around our boat. Capt. Jim always holds me to keep from jumping off the boat after them. So, when I had a chance to swim with the fish, everyone thought I would chase the fish. But, I surprised everyone by racing to be the first to get the cheese puffs before the fish could get them. (Note: yellow tail snapper really like cheese puffs and so do I). It just goes to show you that food is far more important to me than any stupid fish!

More Trip Photos
We have a new neighbor in the harbor: a 150 foot yacht called “Wheels” that is owned by the owner of Hendrix Motors (NASCAR). This boat is much bigger than our house! It is so big, it is blocking some of our sunset view!

This photo was taken by Admiral Sandy from her perch atop the mainsail as she waited for the sunset.

Here are some “artsy” photos that Admiral Sandy took from the mainsail perch. Look for my reflection in the dorade vent. For those of you non-sailors, the dorade vent is the chrome thingy.

Here is a photo of me and Capt. Jim relaxing in the cockpit. We love to sit here in the evenings and watch all the charter boats and dinghies come and go.

Goodbye Rick and Toni!
Last week, Rick and Toni and their dogs Samantha and Horatio left on their sail boat Second Wind, headed back to Jacksonville. We really enjoyed the time we spent with them in Key West and look forward to spending time with them when we get back to Jacksonville! We wish them fair winds and safe seas! We’ll see you when we get back!

Goodbye Joey!
Joey left today to go back to Chicago and we were sad to see him go. We really enjoyed spending time with him and wish him all the best in school! We hope to see him again sometime!

That concludes another update on the adventures of Coconut and Crew. We wish you all a great week! Please look for our next posting soon!

Coconut and Crew

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